For the most part, we are the children, grandchildren or descendants of Irish immigrants. Some of us were actually born in Ireland and some of us have been lucky enough to visit the Auld Sod but all of us have the common bond of loving and sharing our emerald Irish roots with others, We do this through song and dance and drink and by giving to those in need.
We give to local, state and national causes and yes, to those in Ireland. Maryland was one of the first colonies in the new world to accept our ancestors. Founded in 1634 by Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, the land south of Pennsylvania was the first colony devoted to religious tolerance. Times being what they were, this lasted until 1702 when catholics were disenfranchised. This may have prompted wealthy Dr Charles Carroll, an Anglican convert to move from Ireland to acquire 2800 acres in western Maryland. Ironically enough his cousin, also named Charles Carroll, became the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.
John Carroll became the first archbishop of the first archdiocese in America in Baltimore.
However most Irish came to Maryland the old fashion way, as prison outcasts, indentured servants or beginning in 1847, as people fleeing starvation and economic hardships. While they found little public support outside of the Hibernian Society they still managed to thrive in a state where what they did was more important than where they came from.
They manned the police and fire departments, fished the bay, cleaned houses, made Baltimore the center of America’s railroad world and fought on both sides of the Civil War. But mostly they just became good Americans.
We are the children of their children. To continue their good work and pay tribute to our Irish Heritage, we have held an annual festival for over thirty years and donated the proceeds to charity. All of our members are volunteers and it is they who put on the event. Eleven years ago, we incorporated as Irish Charities of Maryland. If you have any questions or you would care to join us, please feel free to contact us. In addition, you can subscribe to our email newsletter – this way you will always be updated on everything related to Maryland Irish Festival.